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Joe Bonamassa Had To Cry Today – CD Review

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How do you begin to sum up a CD that exceeds all one’s expectations? The variety, depth, and intensity of Had To Cry Today absolutely floored me!

Joe Bonamassa possesses several amazing strengths: 1) true musicianship, 2) a strong, throaty voice that rounds out his tunes, 3) a passion for the music he plays, and 4) a perfect match of bandmates.

Not every musician is transformed when he picks up an instrument. Bonamassa is one of the chosen few. There’s magic between the man and his guitars (and he owns a lot of them!) But, it’s more than that. He brings out the deep resonating tones of his guitars and they bring out something special in him. He’s also been known to coax sounds from whichever axe he’s wielding that defy description. Each note carries a direct line to a place deep inside you.

Then there’s the vocals – simply put, they enhance his music, rather than detracting. Joe delivers a richness that’s lacking with so many others attempting to play guitar-fueled blues rock. Throaty, strong, and still somehow sweet, his words and singing ability pack a real punch. Crooning a ballad or belting out a mournful “so-o-oo looo-o-ong” on “Reconsider Baby”, you’re his. Not just for the song, but for the entire album.

Bonamassa’s passion for music is visceral. You combine his musicianship with his vocals and before you know it, he’s reached right inside you and made you feel what he’s feeling. He delivers such joy, angst, and reverence in his music, each song, each album becomes a “must have.” Every note seems familiar, yet somehow fresh. Joe bridges the gap between the guitar greats of the 70’s and the rock music of today. Familiar in the sense that he captures the feel of yesterday while bringing a new energy to a genre that serves as the template for what music should be.

Of the eleven tracks on this CD, seven are originals. The other four are brilliant covers infused with new life. The first track, “Never Make Your Move Too Soon”, is a great B.B. King tune. Joe maintains the essence of B.B. but offers more power, more drive. You can imagine yourself out on the road (and this band is ALWAYS ON THE ROAD), pushing off from one city to the next, playing your heart out for a hungry crowd.

Whether Joe’s playing at warp speed – with “Revenge of the Ten Gallon Hat”, “When The Sun Goes Down”, or “Faux Mantini” – or whispering sweet nothings in your ear – as he does with “When She Dances”, his music becomes a part of your each breath. If your heart rate isn’t affected by his music it’s time to see a cardiologist.

Perhaps the reason Bonamassa’s last few albums have developed so fully is that he’s put together the perfect band. You take Eric Czar – the five string bass God; Kenny Kramme – the mind-blowing powerhouse on drums; add in Joe, with his blistering guitar, and you have a tour de force. There’s not a single weak link on this team. Had To Cry Today is the album that brings together all their talents with a polished sound that can only come from having the perfect chemistry.

Their last album, Blues Deluxe, focused more on the Blues. And it was incredibly well done. The difference with Had To Cry Today is the obvious comfort the band has developed from having another year of touring together under their belts. They’re certainly willing to take chances and bring in a variety of influences – rock, jazz, blues, and country blend effortlessly, taking you on a musical journey that leaves you begging for more. Fortunately, you can hit replay and listen again.

Every song on Had To Cry Today brings something special to the table. The covers on this CD are wonderful tributes to the original artists and the original songs, written or co-written by Joe, are simply stunning. You’ll discover a “new favorite song” with each track.

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About Joan Hunt

  • Jane Hall

    Wow you know it Joanie! I agree. I am not the music expert so to speak but this cd and this band are definitely at the highest level in all categories. I am actually suprised how much I love the title track, I usually prefer Joe’s originals but I admit I repeat Had To Cry Today often. I love going to the shows and actually get to see the band tomorrow night in Baltimore. I think they are going to use much of the material from HTCT on their next live DVD. gotta go play HTCT!
    Jane

  • Eric Olsen

    very nice, descriptive job Joan, thanks and welcome!

  • http://www.awddaily.com Bill Lamb

    Nice review, but there seems to be something up with the link to your blog…it connects to a directory page at bonamassablog.us???

  • Eric Olsen

    Joan, the link goes back to the generic directory I saw yesterday, as Bill mentions, maybe you should point it to the old site for now?

  • http://www.angel-and-soulmate-selfhelp.com/blog.html Angela Chen Shui

    Thanks, Joan. Feel like I listened to the music already! ;-)

  • http://www.angel-and-soulmate-selfhelp.com/blog.html Angela Chen Shui

    Oh, gawwwwd… I better go buy the CD now then..!!

  • http://bonamassablog.us Joanie

    The url to bonamassablog.us is good…it’s just on again, off again at this point. Sorry about that.

    Recommended listening mode for this CD – volume up, eyes closed.

    The only thing better than that is seeing the band live and in person!

  • http://www.awddaily.com Bill Lamb

    So…if bonamassablog.us is the name of the blog…is this a vanity or fan club review?

    I’m really confused…and the directory site looks a lot like ones that are often predatory in dumping adware and other pernicious software onto all of our computers.

    What’s up? I thought we’re supposed to have functioning blog sites…

  • http://www.zaldor.com Zaldor

    Well done Joanie! And Welcome to BC :)

  • bill masullo

    awesome band…htct (and the others) rock…can’t wait to see ‘em again “live”
    bill masullo

  • http://bonamassablog.us Joanie

    Bill (Lamb) – think of our site as a clearinghouse for reviews by Bonamassa fans. A lot of it will be about Joe, Kenny, and Eric, but we all have diverse musical interests….and they WILL show up on the site.

    Plus, when you really think about it, the evolution of blues rock is worth exploring. Hopefully we’ll be able to dig into it fully.

    (I mostly wanted a site where a lot of people could post together, and my main blog just wasn’t appropriate. I picked Bonamassa Blog because the band served as inspiration for my renewed interest in music.)

  • http://www.awddaily.com Bill Lamb

    I’ll look forward to your reviews on other music, because you write well.

    But right now this review looks like a friendly review by a promoter of the band.

  • http://home.comcast.net/~proy1/ Paul Roy

    Nice review. I thought Joe’s first couple of albums were only average, but he showed tons of potential. However when I saw the bonus DVD, “A New Day Yesterday Live”, which was included with his “So, It’s Like That” CD, I was blown away. The guy is such a natural. I haven’t had a chance to post my review of that DVD on Blogcritics yet, but you can check it out on my site , until I do.

  • Ross

    Check out Joe’s new single with a FREE download… just type in the promo code: BLOG and enjoy!